By Martina Liebsch, Caritas Internationalis Policy and Advocacy Director You could hear a pin drop when during the above mentioned conference the audience was confronted with the magnitude of the phenomenon of trafficking in Latin America. The evidence was presented as a film done by youngsters who travelling throughout the continent collected evidence in bars, on the streets, interviewing victims of trafficking, often minors, and bar owners and pimps. A shocking evidence of a continent which is seen as a continent of joy and sharing. This was evident as well in the testimonies of those who are working with persons which are being exploited. But the conference as such was a great sign of hope! It is amazing what a group of engaged, lay volunteers can set up with reaching out to their contacts and networks! The participants and experts intervening, a mix of representatives from academia, religious congregations, engaged lay [...]
Martina Liebsch, Director of Policy for Caritas Internationalis, traveled to Brazil in June to attend the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. She also visited a Caritas project in the region and reports back on Caritas’ efforts to help flood survivors. “In my 67 years I have not seen something like this,” says a woman in Brazil whose house was destroyed during powerful floods in January 2011. She now lives in a modest house with her sister, who takes care of her. The deadly mixture of heavy rains filling the rivers and fatal landslides damaged the city of Nova Friburgo and fertile land nearby. Worst hit was San Jose do vale do Rio Preto, where some of the houses are literally standing in the river. Today those houses that still stand are damaged and inhabitable, though the rivers that caused the damage now look very small and innocent. Although the disaster happened [...]
By Martina Liebsch, Caritas Internationalis Director of Policy and Advocacy It has become a tradition that faith based organisations host a side event together at major global conferences, like at the UN conferences on climate change in Cancun and Durban. Over 120 people gathered in one of the last of the side events at the Rio+20 conference, which, in spite of the general frustration about the outcome of the summit, gave some hope. The title of the event was “Ethical and Religious Insights on the Future we Want” sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, Religions for Peace and Caritas Internationalis.
By James Stella On entering the Rio+20 Conference centre, the participants are instantly greeted by an enormous blue coloured digital billboard displaying the extensive list of side events scheduled for the day. Listed on the board one will find the name, location and time of the event. With events scheduled around the clock, from 9:00 in the morning to 8:00 in the evening, there are approximately 55 side events everyday with each having a duration of one and half hours. Some of the wide array of topics include, ‘Glaciers and Sustainability in the Anthropocen’ by CEDHA, ‘Motorcycle Safety al Rio+20′ by Ecuadorian Motorcyclists Association; ‘The Forest Green Economy and South-South Cooperation’ by WWF International and an event presented by a Palestinian organisation that focused on sustainable development under the Israel occupation.
Espanol Solidarity can be the currency of an alternative economy agreed Caritas representatives at a panel event during Rio+20 Summit, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development taking place in the Brazilian capital. Caritas Brazil, France, Peru and Costa Rica and other staff of the Catholic confederation of aid agencies reflected on how to democratize economics so that it works for all humanity and for a greener planet. Humberto Ortiz from the Church in Peru presented an overview on the impact extractives industries such as logging and mining were having on the Amazon basin. He urged for an economic model for Latin America that promotes solidarity and a green economy through dialogue between the public, private and civil society sectors and that policies must work on all levels.
By James Stella On Sunday, 19 June, Caritas members attending the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development enjoyed a memorable day when they participated in a Holy Mass with Archbishop Orani Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro. Dedicated to the patron saint of Rio de Janeiro, St. Sebastian, the conical shaped Cathedral is located in downtown Rio. Over 60 Caritas Members filled the Cathedral and their presence was noticeably visible as one could see them proudly displaying their Caritas Rio+20 bandanas. After the mass a delegation of church and civil societies leaders held a press conference to outline their positions for the much anticipated Rio+20 summit. The delegation emphasised that despite the significant strides made since the advent of Conference 20 years ago, much still remains to be done for governments to embrace the green economy approach and to ensure individuals economic and social […]
Caritas hosted a side event on the 18 June on ‘Achieving Sustainable Development through Solidarity Economy: Outstanding Issues and Perspectives of “Converting” Economy into Ecology’.
By Roeland Scholtalbers, CIDSE Media and Communication Officer (CIDSE is working with Caritas at the Rio Summit), from Rio de Janeiro. We have seen shy attempts by politicians to mend things, to address global challenges like poverty and climate change together. But our carbon-driven global economy has marched on in the meantime, increasing material well-being for some, but also fuelling economical, environmental and social inequalities. Climate change, which poses huge challenges to some of the world’s poorest communities experiencing increasingly extreme weather, is an obvious example. The exploitation of natural resources, which leaves the people of some of the world’s most resource-rich countries dirt poor, is another one.
With the planting of a tree, the Brazilian Episcopal Conference, with bishops and priests from the Latin American church, began Mass in the Cathedral of St. Sebastian in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The faithful prayed for a renewed commitment of world leaders to work for the elimination of poverty and the protection of nature at the UN Rio +20 conference beginning this week. Archbishop Orani João Tempest of Rio de Janerio and Bishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, president of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference held the evnt in Spanish, French, Portuguese and English as a sigh of communion between the countries. At the start of the Rio +20 Summit, Bishop Ulrich called on the conscience of world leaders and all people of good will to find an alternative development model based on ethics and responsibility for the environment and the human being, on justice, solidarity and the gospel values. [...]
Available in French and Spanish Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa has condemned the murder of fellow countryman, the journalist Alfredo Villatoro. The Honduran broadcast reporter was found executed Tuesday night in the village of Guasculile, north of Tegucigalpa. Villatoro had been abducted near his home by a gang of young men travelling in two vehicles on May 9. He is the 22nd journalist to be killed in the country since 2010. Cardinal Rodriguez said, “Alfredo Villatoro was a brave journalist. He was a great professional. He was also my friend. My prayers are with his family and colleagues. “Alfredo shone a light on the violence and drug trafficking that is strangling Honduras. He is the latest journalist to be murdered for telling the truth about Honduras. “These murders must end now. A free press is the cornerstone of any democracy. The intimidation and abuse of the media in Honduras must be stopped.” Honduras [...]